48 Hours Into My Homecoming (Manila, Philippines)

9 years ago was the last time I was in my home country of the Philippines and it has certainly been a very long time. It's currently 8am and I've been awake since 5am after falling asleep at 9pm last night. Is this the dreaded jet lag everyone keeps talking about? The heat, don't get me started about the heat. Walking out of the airport out into the street was a huge slap to the face to remind me what South East Asian weather is like after being away for so long. My surroundings attacked my senses with everything from honking cars, intense heat and throngs of people greeting their returning loved ones before whisking them away.

Being reunited with my parents was bittersweet with the last time my whole family being together back in November 2013 in Hawaii, and for only the third time in the past 9 years. Here's a quick rundown of some random thoughts after being home for almost 48 hours.

The Childhood Home

I've setup base in an apartment in Pasig, Metro Manila, a place my parents purchased almost 2 decades ago, where my brother currently lives and remodeled since moving in full time about a year ago. The sweltering 38C/100F is punishing me in here too with only a single "air-con" in the main bedroom to provide relief along with a stand fan sidekick in the living room. 

Traffic, argh! 

Hey Austin, Manila's traffic has you beat twenty fold. Never again will I complain about traffic in Austin after experiencing so much traffic in Metro Manila.

Third World Prices

As of this writing a US Dollar is approximately 45 Philippines pesos and seeing meals for 150 pesos ($3) brings a huge smile to my face. Yesterday, my brother insisted I buy some phone cases and I walked away with 2 of them along with a matte protector for the back of my phone for a whopping 600 pesos ($13.50). Ka-ching!

"Nico, taba ka na"

My mother comes from a place a love, and that place is full of skinny people apparently. To make matters more confusing, she can't make up her mind whether my weight gain is a good or bad thing. Either way, it's time to get back together with my gym after I get home and beg for forgiveness after cheating with her(?) with inconsistency and overeating.

Did I mention it's hot?

Morning, noon or night, there is no escape. I'm in the living room typing this up with a stand fan a mere 2 feet away from me and I'm still sweltering in beads of sweat anticipating an outpouring when I head out later this afternoon. Can I call all this sweating my exercise plan while I'm here?

Fast internet on the slow lane

"Where do I go for really fast internet?" I asked my brother at breakfast this morning.
"You're looking at it", he replied and I cringed a little inside.

For my geeks, I'm rocking a 5mbps DSL connection at the moment, a connection speed I haven't seen since I left. Have things even improved at all? I could write an entire section on my qualms on cellphone connectivity but I'll spare you the rant. You get the picture.


Fine, I'll stop complaining now and start adjusting.